The Drew Peterson Timeline
BY JON SEIDEL Sun-Times Media email@example.com
The Drew Peterson trial
Drew Peterson is on trial in the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio, but it’s the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, that brought him national attention.
May 3, 1992
Kathleen Savio and Drew Peterson marry.
Savio is Peterson’s third wife.
Savio learns of Drew’s relationship with Stacy.
While still married to his third wife, Kathleen Savio, Peterson meets Stacy Cales, the future Stacy Peterson. Drew Peterson appears at the hotel where Stacy Cales works. They talk over coffee; he routinely drops in during her shift. He is 47 and she is 17. Months later, they become intimate, Stacy Cales tells family. Savio becomes aware of the relationship in October.
Claims of threats
Savio seeks an order of protection in Will County court. In the order, Savio claimed that her husband had threatened to kill her. “He just doesn’t care if he live[s] or die[s], or I live or die,” Savio wrote. That same year, Savio claimed in a letter to prosecutors that her husband had held a knife to her throat.”
March 13, 2002
Drew files for divorce
Peterson is the first to file for divorce. Savio files a day later.
Oct. 18, 2003
Drew and Stacy marry
While still dating Drew Peterson, Stacy Cales becomes pregnant. They marry in 2003 – eight days after his divorce from Kathleen Savio is final – exchanging vows in a field in Bolingbrook. Drew Peterson invites a son from his first marriage as his witness. Stacy Peterson asks her sister Cassandra Cales to be there. “They didn’t want to tell any of the family,” Cales says. “They just wanted to get it done.”
March 1, 2004
Kathleen Savio found dead
Drew Peterson and Kathleen Savio are sorting out the messy finances of their divorce when he shows up at her Bolingbrook home. (Peterson has said he was dropping off the couple’s two sons at the time). When no one answers the locked door, Drew Peterson asks a neighbor for help and waits for a locksmith, Peterson says. The neighbor goes first, according to Peterson. “I didn’t want any trouble,” Drew Peterson recalls later. “I stood outside, then I heard screaming and went in.” Savio’s body is found in the bathtub of her home. There is no water in the tub, and her hair is drenched with blood from a cut on her head. Savio’s death is ruled an accidental drowning.
Stacy meets with pastor
Just months before she disappears, Stacy Peterson meets with her pastor, Neil Schori, at a Bolingbrook coffee shop. Stacy Peterson confides to Schori that her husband has told her he killed Kathleen Savio, according to an interview Schori has with Greta Van Susteren of Fox News in December 2007. Stacy Peterson “gave me details that I really can’t share,” Schori tells Fox News. Schori says he believes Stacy Peterson never went to police because she was afraid for her safety. Schori says he doesn’t go to police at the time because he believes Stacy Peterson didn’t want him to. Drew Peterson says his missing wife had a “big crush” on Schori. “Every time she went out to see him, she was all dolled up, all sexed up,” Drew Peterson says. “All I know for sure is, Stacy had a big crush on him.”
Stacy calls Scott Rossetto
Three weeks before she vanishes, Stacy Peterson calls a man she hasn’t spoken to in years — Scott Rossetto. About six years earlier, Rossetto’s twin brother, Keith, had dated Stacy Peterson. Stacy Peterson and Scott Rossetto talk or email about every other day. “She kinda mentioned she wanted to end the relationship with her husband,” Rossetto says later. Less than 10 days before Stacy Peterson disappears, Drew Peterson confronts Scott Rossetto and his wife at a suburban Denny’s. “He asked me how I’d react if my wife was with another man,” Scott Rossetto says in November 2007. Although Rossetto has admitted sending Stacy Peterson “flirty” emails, he has denied having an affair with her.
Oct. 28, 2007
On the day she is supposed to go to her brother’s home to paint, Stacy Peterson doesn’t show. When relatives can’t reach the 23-year-old by phone, they become alarmed and call police the next day. Bolingbrook police classify Stacy Peterson’s disappearance as a missing person case and say Drew Peterson is cooperating with authorities. At the time, Drew Peterson tells authorities he spoke to his wife the evening before she disappeared and had no reason to suspect anything was wrong. Peterson later says he believes his wife left voluntarily, possibly with another man. Stacy Peterson’s relatives say she would never have run away, leaving her two small children behind. A massive manhunt for Stacy Peterson begins.
The media sensation
As the search for Stacy Peterson continues, Drew Peterson becomes a media sensation — and seems to enjoy the attention. He talks with cable TV commentator Greta Van Susteren, and then Geraldo Rivera. He also flies out to New York to chat with NBC’s “Today” show host Matt Lauer — and denies he has anything to do with Stacy Peterson’s disappearance. At one point, he makes an on-camera plea for Stacy Peterson to come home. He also lands on the front cover of People magazine, insisting — once again — in the five-page story he had no role in Stacy Peterson’s disappearance or Savio’s death.
Nov. 9, 2007
Drew becomes a suspect
Drew Peterson officially becomes a suspect in Stacy Peterson’s disappearance and the case is now a “potential homicide,” no longer a missing person case. That announcement comes on the heels of a decision by a Will County judge to exhume Kathleen Savio’s body so investigators can re-examine her mysterious 2004 bathtub death, which prosecutors say now appears to be murder, not an accident. As the investigation continues, Drew Peterson resigns from the Bolingbrook Police Department and is later granted his full $6,067.71-a-month police pension.
Nov. 13, 2007
Savio’s body exhumed
Nov. 30, 2007
The blue barrel
A source tells the Sun-Times that on the day Stacy Peterson disappeared, Drew Peterson’s stepbrother Tom Morphey helped him move a blue barrel out of Drew and Stacy Peterson’s home and into Drew Peterson’s SUV. Morphey describes the barrel to police as feeling warm and weighing about 120 pounds, sources say. Walter Martineck Jr., a neighbor of Morphey’s, appears on the “Today” show saying a distraught Morphey told him Oct. 29 he believed he moved Stacy Peterson’s body in the barrel. He says Drew Peterson gave him money for helping with the move. After helping Peterson move the barrel, Morphey overdosed on pills, according to sources.
Feb. 21, 2008
Kathleen Savio’s new autopsy
The results of a new Savio autopsy are released, showing the death of the 40-year-old woman was a murder, not an accident, as investigators originally concluded. The results of the forensic exam, conducted in November 2007, are a surprise to her former husband. “That’s hard to believe. I’m shocked,” Drew Peterson tells the Sun-Times. Meanwhile, relatives of Savio and Stacy Peterson say they hope the findings by pathologist Dr. Larry Blum help solve Savio’s slaying and Stacy Peterson’s disappearance. One of Savio’s relatives says she is angry that authorities didn’t rule Savio’s death a homicide immediately after she was found dead. “It’s something that should have been done the right way almost four years ago,” says Melissa Doman, Savio’s niece. “It would have been done the right way, if people listened.”
May 21, 2008
Drew Peterson is arrested and charged with felony unlawful use of a weapon for allegedly owning a Colt AR-15 assault rifle that lacked the minimum 16-inch barrel required under state law. His arrest comes months after a Nov. 1, 2007, police search that results in 11 guns — including the assault rifle — being removed from his Bolingbrook home. Joel Brodsky, Drew Peterson’s attorney, rips the arrest as a heavy-handed attempt to rattle the man named a suspect in Stacy Peterson’s disappearance. A trial is set for December.
July 23, 2008
Friends say they wore a wire
Two longtime friends of Drew Peterson — Len Wawczak and his wife, Paula Stark — tell the Sun-Times they cooperated with Illinois State Police, wearing a wire and recording seven months of intimate conversations with the former Bolingbrook cop. State Police decline to comment to the Sun-Times. “We got him,” Wawczak, tells the Sun-Times. Drew Peterson mocked investigators as “idiots,” called his third wife “a bitch” whose body he should have had cremated, and predicted he’d be tried and acquitted long before his fourth wife’s remains were found, Wawczak says in the Sun-Times interview.
Oct. 28, 2008
One year since Stacy’s disappearance
On the one-year anniversary of Stacy Peterson’s disappearance, 70 marchers carrying candles walk from the Bolingbrook home Drew Peterson once shared with Savio to the house where he and Stacy Peterson lived. Stacy Peterson’s sister, Cassandra Cales, and other close relatives don’t attend the vigil, saying they wish to mourn privately. Drew Peterson is in New York to appear on NBC’s “Today” show. “There is not a single day that goes by that I don’t think about Stacy, so to me Tuesday is just another day of her being away,” Drew Peterson says in a statement.
Nov. 11, 2008
Drew meets with divorce lawyer
Drew Peterson meets with high-profile Chicago divorce attorney Jeffery Leving. Joel Brodsky, Peterson’s criminal defense attorney, says Drew Peterson discussed his legal options after Stacy Peterson’s Oct. 28, 2007, disappearance. “All he’s done is consult with him,” Brodsky said at the time. “Nothing has been finalized. No decisions have been made.”
Nov. 19, 2008
Hearsay law goes into effect
A law goes into effect that is expected to give Will County prosecutors a powerful new tool in probing the Savio slaying and Stacy Peterson’s disappearance. The legislation is to allow as evidence hearsay statements from murdered witnesses. The new legislation could come into play in connection with a minister who has said Stacy Peterson told him that Drew Peterson killed Savio. In the Savio case, Savio sent a letter to a prosecutor that said, Peterson “knows how to manipulate the system, and his next step is to take my children away. Or kill me instead.”
‘Not at a dead end’
Will County Prosecutor James Glasgow says he is confident 2009 will bring new information that will help investigators find out what happened to either Savio or Stacy Peterson — or both. “I’m very positive. I’m very encouraged by the work the police have done,” Glasgow said. “We are not at a dead end by any stretch of the imagination.”
Fiancee moves in with Drew
Drew Peterson moves fiancee Christina Raines, 24, and her two young children into the home he formerly shared with Stacy Peterson. It’s the beginning of a tempestuous romantic saga seemingly without end. Raines’ father, Ernie Raines, tells the media he’s determined to end the relationship, calling Drew Peterson “the devil.” Christina Raines moves out of the Peterson house, but then moves back in again. She walks out again in April. But for good?
March 7, 2009
The Sun-Times News Group reports that Thomas Morphey, Drew Peterson’s step-brother, has an immunity deal with prosecutors — if Morphey truthfully tells investigators what he knows about Stacy Peterson’s disappearance.
March 10, 2009
After nearly 17 months of silence, Morphey finally talks. In an interview with the Sun-Times News Group, Morphey talks about trying to kill himself after he suspected he’d helped Drew Peterson remove Stacy Peterson’s body. “It kills me,” Morphey said. “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t wish I could take back the events of that day.”
May 7, 2009
Drew indicted in Savio’s death
Drew Peterson is indicted on two counts of murder in the slaying of Savio. State Police take him into custody without incident. “I guess I should have returned those library books,” Peterson jokes.
July 6, 2010
Judge rules against hearsay
Drew Peterson is set to go on trial. Will County Judge Stephen White rules he won’t let jurors hear some hearsay — or secondhand — evidence. It’s considered a crucial blow to the prosecution, and Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow says he’ll appeal.
Oct. 4, 2010
Judge Stephen White retires while Drew Peterson’s case is on appeal. “There’s more than enough competent judges to hear the case,” White said.
Feb. 16, 2011
Appellate court hearing
Drew Peterson’s lawyers tell an Illinois Appellate Court prosecutors waited too long to file their appeal of Judge Stephen White’s ruling. A camera broadcasts the hearing live for the first time in Illinois history.
July 26, 2011
Appellate court sides with Drew
The appellate court sides with Drew Peterson. A three-judge panel rules prosecutors missed a critical 30-day deadline in appealing Judge Stephen White’s hearsay ruling. Peterson’s lawyers call on Glasgow to drop the case and say if Peterson went on trial immediately he “absolutely” would be acquitted. “We’re going to win,” said defense attorney Joel Brodsky.
Aug. 26, 2011
Appeal to Illinois Supreme Court
Prosecutors take their appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court.
Nov. 30, 2011
Supreme Court sides with prosecutors
Illinois’ high court orders the appellate court to consider the case again and rule on its “merits” — not on prosecutors’ failure to meet the 30-day deadline for an appeal. Defense attorney Joel Brodsky downplays the news: “We’re not afraid of the merits of the case ... It seems like they’re terrified of a trial.”
Jan. 21, 2012
Drew Peterson: The Movie
Lifetime airs “Drew Peterson: Untouchable,” a made-for-TV movie about the case starring Rob Lowe as Peterson and Kaley Cuoco as Stacy. Sun-Times TV Critic Lori Rackl gives it 2-1/2 stars, saying it had her “laughing out loud.”
April 12, 2012
Appellate court sides with prosecutors
The appellate court lets the hearsay evidence in, and Drew Peterson’s lawyers say they won’t fight the ruling. Suddenly Peterson’s trial is fast-tracked.
May 4, 2012
Back in court
Drew Peterson returns to the Will County courthouse for the first time in 1-1/2 years. Within moments he’s in trouble with the bailiff as she warns people in the gallery not to talk to prisoners. “That would be me,” Peterson said as he waved to the crowd.
June 4, 2012
‘I’m sick of being called sinister’
Drew Peterson talks with Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed. ‘I’m sick of being called sinister,’ he says.
Trial date set
The case goes to Judge Edward Burmila. He rules prosecutors can mention Stacy Peterson — but not her possible death — while they put Peterson on trial for Savio’s murder. And he finally sets a new date for Peterson’s trial.
July 23, 2012
Trial set to begin
July 31, 2012
Opening statements scheduled